It's In My Closet, Now How Do I Wear It?: The Colorful Oxfords

How to not let colors perplex you.

hi laia,

these oxfords confuse me! i really like them but the colors throw me off. i got them for christmas and have yet to wear them outside of the house, and not for lack of trying. i have no idea how to combine them with clothing. colors sometimes perplex me. an added challenge--i don't really ever wear pants, so the neutral default of jeans is out... any ideas?

- ada

Thank you for writing in Ada! I am a big fan of brightly colored shoes that don't really match anything in my closet so I understand how frustrating figuring out what to pair them with can be. When you say you don't wear jeans (OMG what!?!), does that mean you don't wear pants at all? If you DO wear pants, I think a slim cropped shape works best for these shoes. Actually they don't even have to be cropped, but it's the summer and a little ankle goes a long way for freshening up a look.

Slim Crop Pants $49.50, Gap

I really dig these slim pants from Gap. Treat them like you would a pair of jeans if you actually wore jeans, that is, pair them with everything without fear. They will go with everything: t-shirts, thin sweaters, button-downs, fancy sequined tops. Pretty much everything your brain desires.

If you don't wear jeans OR pants, then I think your default style should be a cool navy or black skirt in whatever shape you feel most comfortable in. Pencil skirts and A-line skirts will both look great with your shoes, so just think about what you like. Personally, I would be into pairing it with a long-ish skirt and my favorite white tee.

Aqua Rounded Hem Long Skirt $78, Bloomingdale's

Isn't this skirt totally awesome? I could see myself living in it in the summer and beyond. I admit the look is a bit neo-nerd, and not for everyone but, you know, I like to give you options! If that's really not for you, here's a really nice pencil skirt that would be a great match as well.

When it comes to colors, don't think about it! My advice for when you're dealing with an unusual piece, be it because of color or shape or whatever, I always say you should "round it up," that is, imagine it as the next most basic item you can. In this case, I think you could pretend these shoes are simply white, and pair them with other things you'd typically pair cream or light colored shoes with. You can also go off the red, and pretend the shoes are brown and pair them with things you might wear brown shoes with. The results might be more off-beat, but they're definitely worth a try.

With special pieces like this, a lot of it is "trial and error," so even though you've tried them on a bunch of times but still haven't found the right thing doesn't mean you're never going to find it. The important thing is that you're experimenting! Just keep throwing them on with everything you wear until you hit the jackpot and get your dream oxford outfit.